The New York Knicks made it official on Wednesday, officially announcing the signing of four-time All-Star point guard Kemba Walker.
While the Knicks did not disclose the parameters of the deal, multiple reports have tabbed Walker’s contract at two years worth $18 million. The desire to come home saw Walker leave roughly $20 million over two years on the table as he pursued and achieved a buyout from the Oklahoma City Thunder, who acquired him this summer from the Boston Celtics.
He was owed approximately $74 million from the four-year, $141 million deal he inked with Boston, but declined $9.8 million this upcoming season and another $10.2 million in 2022-23,
The Bronx native came up starring at Rice High School and further made a name for himself at UConn during the 2011 Big East Tournament where he led the Huskies to five wins in five nights to make the NCAA Tournament — including a buzzer-beating step-back jumper to defeat Pitt in the quarterfinals. He topped it off with a national championship that year before he was drafted ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats.
“We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker, Kemba Walker, back to the city he’s proud to call home,” Knicks president Leon Rose said. “He’s a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization.”
Kemba Walker is officially a New York Knick ✍️ pic.twitter.com/cCWNt0htML
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) August 11, 2021
Over eight seasons with the Bobcats/Hornets organization and two with the Celtics, Walker has averaged 19.9 points, 5.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game as one of the premier point guards in the NBA. He is one of six players (Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook) with career averages of at least 19.5 points, 5.0 assists, and 1.30 steals while shooting greater than 35% from behind the arc.
Those numbers provide the hope that Walker can finally be the bona fide point guard that the Knicks have been searching for over the last few decades as they finally look poised to come out from under a two-decade shadow that saw their reputation tank.
They’ve experienced first-hand just how good Walker is as he averaged 20.6 points and 5.0 assists per game over 31 contests against his hometown team. In 15 career games at Madison Square Garden, he’s averaging 21.2 points per game
“We’ve already seen how well he performs on The Garden stage and can’t wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends, and the best fans in the league,” Rose said.